26 January 2013

How To Get Women To Take Off Their Clothes, Part II

Early work, Laura: First model I shot after moving to Vegas
Okay...So how many No's have you received in the last two days since my previous post. The goal is 20 in the next week, so if you're on track you should be between 4 and 6 negative responses right about now. Are we there yet? Once again, just in case anyone is reading this second post first, let me preface with this: This is not a "how-to" to get into women's pants, (or shorts, skirt, or bed, or dress, etc.)

I want to also cover another important part of this process and that's to have a good WHY. What makes you want to photography the nude? What is your attitude about nudity in general? How do you think you will feel when you have a woman in front of your lens who has removed her clothes and is trusting you to be decent. This is just a quick blog post, but let me first give you my impression of what the nude is, as well as what it most certainly is not.

Model Laura,
New Edit from Previous Image
The nude is art. Now that may sound cliche as hell, but bear with me. I shoot the nude because I love photography. My love of photography comes first. People will shoot for different reasons, but they will tend to gravitate towards a particular genre. Some photographers do not work well shooting people or live subjects. Other photographers love the capture of competition, motion, and action. Me, I love life and the human element. The most beautiful aspect of the human element is the female form. Hands down. No question about it. This is why I shoot the nude.

The nude is different from just a pic of a naked chick. You see that kind of stuff on cell phones or as snap shots somebody took and put on the internet. It becomes art when you choose to evolve that nakedness into something else by deliberately incorporating the elements of light, shadow, the abstract, form, shape, angle, perspective, composition, texture, patterns, symmetry, geometry, line, mimicry, emotion, and color or the lack of it (just to name a few). Sometimes the nude may not depict any nudity whatsoever. In a sense, the nude may be naked, but the naked may not necessarily be a nude.

Model Laura, New Edit from Previous Image
The nude does not equate to sex. This is a tragic misnomer and a major reason why many people do not appreciate and will ofttimes vilify the nude, photographers who shoot it, and models who pose. One does not equal the other. I learn that for the first time in Europe. Just because a model chooses to pose for you does NOT mean she is interested in you beyond your photographic skills. I wish, most emphatically that photographers venturing into the art nude might understand this. The nude is also most certainly not a tool to satiate your own private lustful desires. That kind of negativity has a nasty habit of finding its way out of the heart and sitting on your shoulder for all to see.

So ask yourself why you wish to photograph the nude and be honest with your answer. The "why" will give your a focus and will be the template you need to build from. This is one of the most difficult genres of photography to master. It can actually become frustrating if all your images simply look like a naked girl with minimal artistic value. It is important to study the masters who have already done this and who are doing it today. Study, study, study. Your work will assuredly benefit from it. Learn to cultivate the imagination. Shoot, shoot, shoot. Whether you have a nude or not. A clothed subject is still an excellent practice subject. So while you are out there getting your "No's", continue to study and above all, keep shooting.

Model Laura, New Edit from Previous Image
Some of the inspirations I learned from to cultivate my craft include: Edward Weston, Harry Callahan, Sally Mann, Spencer Tunick, Jerry Ulesmann, Dave Rudin, and Mosa. If you REALLY want to get good with this gig, don't just stop with photographers. Look at the models! They will teach you! Charis Wilson, Eleanor Callahan, Iris Dassault, Nettie Harris, Brooke Lynne, just to point out a few. Talk to the women you meet. Ask them for their input. I would be a stick in the mud with a camera had it not been for several of the models I worked with. These are women who trusted me and allowed me to develop my craft when I wasn't really good at all.

Model Laura, 
New Edit from Previous Image
You've seen my images of Trixie and Faerie. Trixie would let me experiment and try new things. Faerie let me shoot for the fun of it and just play. Panda, (These are not their birth names, by the way) was a God-send how came along just when I needed a model to do exactly what I needed. We shot 10 times in a single month, often times averaging 8 hours per shoot. And I have several other anonymous helpers who have benefited me greatly. You get to find out who you are as a photographer with models like this. Try to work with potential models who's goals, interests, and expectations match your own. As well as, those who's reasons for posing nude reflect your reason to shoot nudes. That kind of collaboration is bound to yield excellent work. The model featured on this post, is Laura. I met her when I first came to Las Vegas and got talked into a colonic hydrotherapy procedure by a girlfriend. Laura was the attending facilitator for this thing. For whatever reason, I was inspired to ask her during the procedure and I think it was because I was in such a vulnerable position and she was the obvious one in control, (with her hands on the water control dials), she felt I was more than likely serious and said yes. I got to work with her several more times which was a big help to my development. I thank all the models who chose to trust and work with me despite no credentials, website, card, or previous good work. And I extend a special thanks to the other models since then who decided to help me on this adventure and make me better.


Karl said...

This is very interesting. You hit on a key point of the "Why". This should be in your head while you take any photo. It is even more important when person has entrusted you to take their photo. The degree between right and wrong "whys" is not part of this point. The point is, you have to have that "why". Well said.

Photo Anthems.com said...

Exactly. I have to examine the "why" each time I get ready to shoot a new model or a new project. I know my main reasons, of course, but sometimes it also helps me bring to focus what's in my head and envision the results I want from the project.